There have been many incarnations of the Superman on the big screen and the last son of Krypton is back in cinemas with Man of Steel. The fictional character is still as popular as ever with the iconic S-Shield printed on t-shirts, underpants and sometimes tattooed onto human bodies. While Supes hogs the spotlight it’s worth pondering what other fictional characters deserve a film.
The GWP Rountable question this week is: which fictional character would you like to see get their own film?
As a teenager, I fell in love with Artemis Fowl. He was a genius and unabashed nerd who got to interact with a high-tech fantasy world, so it basically hit every button I had as a geeky teen. The series, following an Irish teenager whose criminal masterminding leads to his exploitation of the Lower Elements and its tenacious Fairy police captain Holly Short, has sold over 20 million copies since its first installment was published in 2001.
While never rising to phenomenal Harry Potter-esque heights, it was very successful and the books were damn good fun. Written with fascinating characters (Holly is the only female in her high-ranking police unit, and is a major badass), narrative panache, and wry wit, the series has broad appeal without dumbing itself down. Yet after plans for a film adaptation were announced in 2001, with casting coming to pass in 2003, nothing's happened.
10 years later and it still appears stuck in development hell. It seems like no one wants to take a risk on an anti-hero story for a teen audience; this despite the last reports dated around 2011 saying that 6-time Oscar nominee Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) expressing interest in directing with Saoirse Ronan in talks to star. You'd think it wouldn't be this difficult to pull things together, especially if a series like Beautiful Creatures, which has sold between 1 and 2 million copies, can get rushed into production after its publication in 2009.
What disappoints me most about this is that Artemis Fowl's titular character is basically the pale teen version of Iron Man -- hyper-intelligent, rich, sarcastic, and complex. He would be a refreshing salve to the kind of films marketed towards youth audiences these days, one who would resonate now more than ever in the age of increasingly acceptable geekiness. But I daresay that fairies, centaurs, and magic are red flags to executives these days, even when coupled with hacking, heists, biological weapons, and radioactive trains. But at this rate, it may never come to pass.
HUNTRESS! In a world where we can have dozens of comic book movies each year with a plethora of male superheroes, it's about time DC and Marvel stepped up to give us a female led film. Yes, Catwoman and Elektra both failed but c'mon: you can't put that down to audiences not being interested in female heroes when plot lines had a protagonist getting licked and brought back to life by magic fucking cats. CATS, man. And yes, Marvel have Black Widow but one woman in a team of six is not bloody good enough. So, if Guardians of the Galaxy can get green-lit we need to see filmmakers turning back to the pages of comics to give one of the many brilliant female characters their own run. My pick would be DC's Huntress who is essentially Batman with a crossbow. And guns. Real name Helena Bertinelli, she's the daughter of a Gotham crime boss and ends up becoming a vigilante after witnessing her entire family slaughtered in a mob hit. Brutal and broody, she also has a dark sense of humour that could elevate a film from the depressing bleakness of something like, say, Man of Steel. Constantly at odds with her Catholic faith, Huntress is someone Batman - a certifiable sociopath - is reluctant to work with because he thinks she's too violent and unpredictable. She has been both a villain and a heroine in the DC universe over her 66-year history and had relationships with everyone from Nightwing to Catman. She's a feminist icon who won't tolerate slut-shaming (see Exhibit A: http://mariartapocolypse.tumblr.com/post/43302255739).
If a Huntress movie ever got off the ground the screenplay reins need to be handed over to Gail Simone, who gave the character her best story arcs in the genre-defining Birds Of Prey run where "The characters don't apologise for being asskickers, nor for being smart, nor for being sexy, nor for being sexual, for that matter." Give us a Huntress movie already, Warner Bros. Give it to us now.
With hints and drops, Brian K Vaughan's Y: The Last Man is apparently going to be filmed as a movie adaptation sometime in the near future - a sci-fi comic series about the masc-ocalypse as every mammal with the Y chromosome are instantly killed, except for 20-something try-hard magician Yorick and his pet monkey. This is a brilliant read that has an epic scope and endlessly fascinating arcs and characters in this new nigh-apocalypse world. Exploring ultra-feminism, gender imbalance and questions of the future (even sperm does not function anymore) it's one of the most original series I've read. Of course it would work better as a serial, but I am game for a movie.
I would like to see a film solely about Steve Buscemi's character in Fargo, Carl Showalter. When we first meet him he is sitting in a bar with Gaear Grimsrud awaiting the arrival of Jerry Lundegaard and his harebrained scheme. We all know how he meets his demise (a fantastic moment) but I always wondered what the funny-looking chatterbox, the source of many brilliant lines, got up to before the crazy events of the Coen Bros film. He would be a hugely unconventional lead character, a misunderstood oddball dabbling in petty crime, wasting away his meager shares on alcohol and prostitutes. But I feel like he would have many fascinating stories. I wonder if he had ever been to Minneapolis? Of course Buscemi, given the age he is now, could not play the character, and I doubt anyone could capture the eccentricities as well as he. The project would never ever happen, but it is an interesting consideration.
Bring on Katey Kontent! The witty, wry, fun, wise lead character in Amor Towles' debut (and to date, sole) novel: 2011's Rules of Civility. Set in New York City in 1938, this magnificent novel covers a year in 25-year-old Katey's life. And it's a jam-packed year: a journey from living in a boarding house and working in the secretarial pool to working on a high profile magazine and mixing with New York's upper society.
Towles' writing is so beautifully lush and exquisite: descriptive in that gorgeous way that F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing is. Katey's beloved city is portrayed here a generation after its The Great Gatsby incarnation - and it has that same wonderful 'alive' feeling about it: the jazz clubs, expensive apartments, and general vibe of 'fabulousness, with a dark side'.
Katey would make a fascinating film character. Of course I'd love to see '1938 Katey' in a film version of Rules Of Civility (which is currently in development - with Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber recently hired to adapt the novel into a screenplay) - but it would also be interesting to see the her character portrayed on film at other times in her life. She would have been 16 in 1929, 40 in 1953, 55 in 1968 and 70 in 1983. I wonder how she would change as the times changed?
I recently read the novel The Rook by Daniel O’Malley and it really blew me away. The main character is Myfanwy Thomas who is suffering from amnesia and must figure out her identity and who wiped her memory within a secret paranormal organisation she works for (but it’s all news to her due to the lack of memory). Thomas is a fantastic character and the kooky supernatural/sci-fi world she inhabits warrants a film, preferably in the hands of Joss Whedon or Drew Goddard.